My son has recently started alternating calling me “Daddy” and using my first name. Uh, excuse me?! I’m not your friend. I’m your father! Maybe when you are in your thirties we can share a beer while grilling and laugh about some of the crazy stunts you pulled on me and your mother, but I still expect you to call me “Dad” or “Pops” or something along the lines of “Father”. I love you, but like a son and not my best friend.
So. So. So. I make rules. You break them. You want what you can’t have. I make sure it stays that way. Do as I say and not as I do – the sweet hypocrisy of parenthood. You are too young now to understand this, but there is no explanation beyond “because I say so!”
It’s hard when you are running around the playground laughing or snuggled watching a cartoon or dancing goofily to a song on the radio. To be a dad, that is, because it is only half of the equation. The other half is scolding, teaching, cajoling, wiping, comforting, cleaning, chasing, yelling and most of the things that you don’t need to deal with day in and day out with your friends (at least not with the more normal ones). You don’t confess yourself to your kids do you? Parents are supposed to be superheroes and superheroes can do it all without complaining. In exchange for these superpowers we are required to toe the line of parenthood which means watching our kids throw tantrums, roll their eyes at us, call us uncool, hate us and a plethora of other spur of the moment interjections aimed at letting us know that we are the meanest of meanies because we do not let them run amok.
I’m not complaining, but I don’t see how some parents can claim that their kids are their best friend and frankly why would you want that kind of relationship? The tough part of the job is perfectly balanced with all the satisfactions of watching them grow and learn and love you despite it all. Friends come and go with rare exceptions. My son is my body and soul – a rogue chip off the old block that tests my patience and simultaneously tugs at my heart strings each and everyday. I’ll take being his dad over being his BFF any day.